MCDFL Round 16 Preview

AVOCA v ROVERS - 2.35pm Saturday at Avoca.

Last time: Round 9, 2013: Avoca 19.21 (135) d Rovers 5.6 (36).

Since 2005: Avoca 10; Rovers 3.

AVOCA - for only the third time in 10 seasons since joining the MCDFL in 2005, the Bulldogs will miss the finals. But playing at home against Rovers, a good chance to finish the year on a positive.

ROVERS - has also won just the three games, but an improvement on last season’s tally of one. Copped a 76-point hiding off Royal Park last week, but like the Bulldogs, will see this as very winnable.  

TIP: Rovers by 6 points.

MALDON v HARCOURT - 2.35pm Saturday at Maldon.

Last time: Round 7, 2014: Harcourt 15.10 (100) d Maldon 3.13 (31).

Since 2004: Harcourt 11; Maldon 9.

MALDON - the Bombers lost their first 11 games of the season, but if they are good enough at home to knock over Harcourt, will end the season with three wins in their last five games. Not without a chance.

HARCOURT - there’s a mathematical chance they can still play finals, but to do that they must make up one game, plus 17 per cent, on Talbot. Pencil the Lions in for ninth - just the fourth time since 1995 out of the finals.

TIP: Harcourt by 56 points.

CAMPBELLS CREEK v NATTE BEALIBA - 2.35pm Saturday at Campbells Creek.

Last time: Round 5, 2013: Natte Bealiba 23.11 (149) d Campbells Creek 14.10 (94).

Since 2011: Natte Bealiba 3; Campbells Creek 0.

CAMPBELLS CREEK - since 2000, the final round of the home and away action has signalled the end for the Creekers. But not this year, with the club having its first finals berth since 1999 to look forward to.

NATTE BEALIBA - the Swans haven’t sat in the top four since round one. But if they beat Campbells Creek and Newstead loses to Lexton, the Swans will climb from fifth to fourth and snare the double chance. 

TIP: Natte Bealiba by 65 points.

CARISBROOK v ROYAL PARK - 2.35pm Saturday at Carisbrook.

Last time: Round 10, 2013: Carisbrook 31.20 (206) d Royal Park 3.5 (23).

Since 2004: Carisbrook 17; Royal Park 0.

CARISBROOK - having kicked bags of 10 in his past two games, plenty of interest to see how many Liam Cunningham boots on Saturday. Redbacks will finish top four in what will be their 13th-straight finals series.

ROYAL PARK - the resurgence of Bushy has been one of the stories of the season. But have they improved enough to challenge a side they have lost their past four against by margins of 183, 201, 207 and 145 points?  

TIP: Carisbrook by 52 points.

LEXTON v NEWSTEAD - 2.30pm Saturday at Lexton.

Last time: Preliminary final, 2013: Lexton 15.13 (103) d Newstead 13.15 (93).

Since 2011: Lexton 6; Newstead 1.

LEXTON - haven’t lost since round one when they were defeated by Navarre by 37 points. Too good for Avoca by 86 points last week in what was the ninth of their 15 wins in a row by at least 50 points.

NEWSTEAD - sat in the top four since round two. But if the Steaders lose to Lexton and Natte Bealiba beats Campbells Creek, they will surrender the double chance. At least their top-four destiny is still in their hands.

TIP: Lexton by 36 points.

NAVARRE v DUNOLLY - 2.35pm Saturday at Navarre.

Last time: Round 7, 2014: Navarre 28.23 (191) d Dunolly 6.4 (40).

Since 2011: Navarre 4; Dunolly 0.

NAVARRE - headed for an undefeated home and away season, but that counts for nothing if you don’t win the flag - just ask Carisbrook. Their 18-game winning streak is currently the fourth best in country Victoria.  

DUNOLLY - the Eagles are likely to claim their first wooden spoon since 2005, unless they can do what no side has done since Newstead in the first week of the finals last year and beat Navarre. Would be a miracle.

TIP: Navarre by 125 points.

TALBOT v TRENTHAM - 2.35pm Saturday at Talbot.

Last time: Round 5, 2014: Talbot 16.15 (111) d Trentham 9.7 (61).

Since 2004: Talbot 12; Trentham 3.

TALBOT - barring any major catastrophe at home against Trentham, the Hawks are headed to their first finals since 2008. They’ve lost their past two to Natte Bealiba and Royal Park, but should bounce back. 

TRENTHAM - gave a strong account of themselves against Newstead last week in a 23-point loss. Haven’t won since beating Maldon by five points in round three, so a season-ending victory is well overdue.   

TIP: Talbot by 33 points.

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